Wrigthsville Beach Ocean Rescue takes third at regionals


As they expected, several veterans of the Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue competition team put themselves in front of the pack, and a strong performance from the rookies and the women’s rescue race relay, boosted the team to a third-place finish in the  2017 South Atlantic Regional lifeguarding competitions last week in Jacksonville Beach, Fla.

“We had high expectations going into it,” said Mo Peacock, a veteran competitor for the team. “We did really well, especially compared to the size of the other beaches going in.”

The WBOR took third overall in the “Big Beach” category for beaches with more than 50 guards. Just over that number, the WBOR team competed with the Jacksonville Beach team that won, which has more than 100 guards, and the guards from Charleston, S.C., which cover all of that county’s beaches.

While the third place finish was a bit of a step back from the recent streak of four first-place regional finishes, Peacock said the team went into the competition knowing they would be outnumbered by the local beaches. He noted that WBOR led all beaches in points-per-competitor.

The 2017 Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue Competition Team. Top left to right: Sean Ruttkay, Jack DeVries, Luke Hammond, Seamus Donahue, Will Owens, Michel Heijnen. Bottom left to right: Mo Peacock. Thalia Harrison, Ana Fish, Kayra DeMarte, Kristi Falco, Hunter Hay.

“These competitions help us showcase our skills and talents in lifesaving,” Peacock said. “It shows the quality of our ocean rescue program here at Wrightsville Beach.”

Peacock repeated his performance in the “Beach Flags” competition, taking first overall. Veteran Hunter Hay took first in the surfski and age-group categories for surfski and prone paddle race. Veteran Sean Ruttkay also grabbed first place age group finishes for surf race, run/swim/paddle and  run/swim/run.

A rookie also made an impact, as Michel Heijnen won first place overall for the run/swim/run competition, while adding age group firsts for run/swim/run and the surf race. Meanwhile, the women’s relay rescue race team of Thalia Harrison, Ana Fish, Kayra DeMarte, Kristi Falco took a second-place overall finish.

The team will compete in nationals on Aug. 12-13 in Daytona Beach, Fla. It’s travel and expenses are funded through private donations to the Friends of Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue.

2017 South Atlantic regional lifesaving results:

  • Run/Swim/Run-3rd Jack DeVries
  • Surfski Race-1st Hunter Hay
  • Age Group Surfski-1st Hunter Hay
  • Age Group Prone Paddle Board Race-1st Hunter Hay
  • Age Group Run/Swim/Paddle-3rd Hunter Hay
  • Age Group International Ironman(Swim, Run, Surfski, Prone Paddle)-3rd Hunter Hay
  • Men’s Run/Swim/Run-1st Michel Heijnen
  • Age Group Run/Swim/Run-1st Michel Heijnen
  • Age Group Surf Race-1st Michel Heijnen
  • Beach Flags-1st Mo Peacock
  • Age Group Beach Flags-1st Mo Peacock
  • Age Group Surf Race-1st Sean Ruttkay
  • Age Group Run/Swim/Paddle-1st Sean Ruttkay
  • Age Group Run/Swim/Run-1st Sean Ruttkay
  • Age Group Prone Paddle Board Race-2nd Sean Ruttkay
  • Age Group Surfski Race-2nd Sean Ruttkay
  • Age Group Intl Ironman-2nd Sean Ruttkay
  • Age Group 2k Beach Run-3rd Sean Ruttkay
  • Men’s Taplin Relay(Swim, Prone Paddle, Surfski, Run)-3rd Heijnen, Hay, Peacock, Ruttkay
  • Men’s Rescue Race-2nd Heijnen, Hay, DeVries, Peacock
  • Women’s Rescue Race-2nd DeMarte, Fish, Falco, Harrison
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